Exclusive: The Italian masters meet Brooklyn hipsters in the twisted slasher, Psychotic!

Contributed by
Jan 30, 2018

There are few bigger influences on modern horror than 1960s Giallo films. Without Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci and countless others, there would be no American slasher genre.

Brooklyn filmmakers Maxwell Frey and Derek Gibbons are open about the genre's influence on their work, and you can see shades of the Italian masters (along with plenty of originality) in their new film, Psychotic! A Brooklyn Slasher Film.

SYFY WIRE has an exclusive (and bloody) clip from the movie, which is available on VOD now. And, if you're looking to get a little insight into the minds of the filmmakers, we've got an interview that should whet your appetite for gore and also maybe a trip to Bushwick.


Brooklyn culture meets '60s giallo is a cool blend. Are there specific aesthetics and art from each that inspired you as you were fleshing out PSYCHOTIC?

Frey/Gibbons: The bright primary colors of Dario Argento films generally influenced the look of the Bushwick party scene. The focus on a group of musicians in Dario's Four Flies on Grey Velvet was also instrumental when we were coming up with the story. We even shot a POV through a bass drum which is very similar to a guitar POV at the beginning of Four Flies.

Bushwick and Brooklyn in general has a growing scene for horror filmmakers: what are the challenges and the benefits you've found while filming in Brooklyn?

Shooting in Brooklyn was very easy. A lot of artist and filmmakers live in Bushwick so the community is supportive and the locations are interested and easy to work with. But with there being so many young artists and musicians in the area, sometimes neighbors would host noisy parties or hold band practices next door so we had to coordinate with them to record clean sound.

Also, always shoot with a permit. They are easy to get and if you are shooting a scene with a serial killer chasing a woman down a Bushwick street, it's good to let the local police know... unless you want seven cops with guns drawn showing up on set.

A killer's mask is such an important, iconic part of almost any slasher. What's the story of your killer's mask? Who came up with the design and what was the process to getting it right?

The mask is one of the most important parts to any slasher so we had to get it right. We wanted something that if you squinted your eyes, would just look like a normal smiling weirdo, but when seen up close would be creepy as hell.

We shot the first scene years ago and had planned to base the mask on whoever played the character "Tony" (Chris Prine). Our special effects person, Sabrina Rose, made a mold of Chris's face and then painted it. The look of the mask was very much influenced by the killer's mask in Four Flies On Grey Velvet.

Hypthetical: you are in Brooklyn, you are very high, and you are suddenly and unexpectedly in a horror movie and someone in a mask is trying to kill you. What are your top tips to survive this very surprising development?

1. Finish your beer. 2. Put down your bong. 3. Don't hide in a shower. 4. Run fast and never look back.

If you could make an entry in any pre-existing horror franchise, which would it be and what would you bring to it?

That's tough! We've discussed it before though, and would love to create a super stylized addition to the Sleepaway Camp series. The first film as well as the underrated fourth film (Return to Sleepaway Camp) have had a huge effect on our work and we'd love to take a crack at creating a new one, with an emphasis on colorful lighting, a distinctive soundtrack, and getting those kills to look just right. There's still a lot of fun to be had with summer camp massacres.

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